World News

Two missing after new Russian coal mine accident

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Two miners were missing and dozens were rescued after a pit in Russia’s coal heartland of Kuzbass collapsed on Wednesday, two weeks after blasts killed at least 66 people in a neighboring mine.

Interfax news agency said 107 miners out of 109 who had been working in the Alexeyevskaya mine were rescued after it collapsed on Wednesday morning. RIA new agency said only 31 miners had been working in the mine and 29 had been rescued.

The local emergencies service declined to give details of the number of missing and rescued.

The Alexeyevskaya mine belongs to a group of Ukrainian investors, according to Russian media.

Safety in the Russian coal industry is in the spotlight following an accident at the Raspadskaya mine in the same region on May 8, the worst in three years.

With 66 people confirmed dead, the search for 24 men still missing at Raspadskaya has been halted because of fears of further underground explosions.

On Tuesday, Russian prosecutors said they would investigate safety at all coal mines and open a criminal case against the general director of the Raspadskaya mine, who resigned after a rebuke from Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by Andrew Roche